FODMAP

Meal for homeless – white cooked chicken with oyster sauce and green shallot (FODMAP friendly)

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Simple and easy home-cooked meals are always appreciated at the homeless feed.

Meal for homeless - slow poached chicken with oyster sauce and green shallot (FODMAP friendly)

Here’s one of my simplest meal with whole chicken(s) with a few other ingredients –  oyster sauce, sesame oil (or cooking oil), corn flour, ginger and green shallot.  For a FODMAP friendly recipe, use only green part of the shallot.

To cook the chicken:

  1. In a large heavy pot, add hot water, salt, white pepper and a few slices of ginger
  2. Use a stick to poke a few holes in the thickest part of the chicken, lay the chicken in the water, breast down; bring to boil, and turn the heat off;  leave it on the stove for the remaining heat to cook the chicken for at lease 1 hours.
  3. Turn the chicken over and bring to boil, turn the heat off for 30 minutes.
  4. Bring it to boil again for a few minutes.
  5. Take the chicken out of pot, cool slightly, then pull the meat off, making sure all the meat is cooked; if slightly under cooked, return the pieces to the pot of hot water for a few minutes.

To make the sauce:

  1. Thinly slice some green shallot.  For a FODMAP friendly recipe, use only the green part of the shallot.
  2. In a small pot, bring some sesame oil and cooking oil (1/2 each) to high heat; remove the pot from heat, add the sliced green shallot and a little salt, saute for a few seconds with the residual heat;  add the shallot to the chicken, toss well.
  3. In a cup, mix a little corn flour with water  (1 tsp flour to 5 tbsp water).
  4. In a small pot,  add some oyster sauce and the corn flour mix, stir and bring to slow boil and removed from heat immediately; pour the sauce over the chicken.

Bacon and cucumber stir fry (gluten free, FODMAP friendly)

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Stir fried cucumbers with bacon (gluten free)

I had a few cucumbers in the fridge and some bacon in the freezer. I sliced the cucumbers, defrosted the bacon and sliced them up. In a frying pan I drizzled a little oil and added the bacon pieces. I pan fried the bacon until nearly crispy, then added the cucumbers. A few stirs, added a little sugar and white pepper. There we have a big bowl of tasty veggie and yummy bacon for dinner.

Beef with Asian dipping sauce (FODMAP friendly, gluten free)

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Beef with Asian dipping sauce (FODMAP friendly, gluten free)

A few friends dropped by unexpectedly one weekend afternoon.

We opened a bottle of red wine and felt a bit peckish. Something quick and easy to share would be lovely.

A piece of Angus rump steak is the perfect snack:

1. Cook the steak 1-3 minutes on each side, depending on the thickness and how rare you would like it; rest the steak for 10 minutes

2. Prepare a simple Asian dipping sauce – fish sauce (1 tsp) + rice wine vinegar (1tsp) +  sugar (1tsp) + boiling water (3 tsp), stir well to dissolve the sugar.  added a little chopped chili if you prefer

3. Slice the steak

4. Drizzle some sesame oil over the beef (optional)

5. Chop some mint for garnish (optional)

6. Serve at room temperature

Great to share with friends.

Chicken feet and corporate greed

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Chicken feet and corporate greed

Winston Churchill said, “the inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries”.

I thought of corporate greed.

They share their goals and visions loud and proud – for the best interest of shareholders.  They will sack as many workers as possible, and take the fat out of the operation until it is on the verge of collapse.  This enable them to harvest short term bonus, and at some point, enjoy a big fat golden handshakes when the real pictures are unfold.

Does it have to be like that?  Why can’t corporations work for the best interest of all stakeholders including their customers and employees.

Corporate greed reminds me chicken feet – skin and bone, barely a feed,  and hardly a blessing for some.

While cooking the chicken feet, I thought of the families who struggle to pay their rents and put food on the tables, and the smart and ambitious ones in prestige positions yet do not have time to enjoy with their families.

Chicken feet is cheap and tasty, yet unfulfilling as a meal. Is it a blessing or misery?

Collaboration with Woofy Comics
Collaboration with my son @ Woofy Comics

Cooking method is as follows:

1. Clean the chicken feet, remove callus and nails

2. Place the chicken feet in a pressure cooker, add a dash of sesame oil, a dash of light soy sauce, a dash of dark soy sauce,  a dash of oyster sauce, a dash of wine, a little sugar, a few star anise, a few cloves, black pepper

3. Cook on high pressure for 45 minutes

4. Serve hot or at room temperature

Salted duck egg, with sweet and spicy vegetables (FODMAP friendly)

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A lovely Italian man at my husband’s work keeps a few ducks in his back yard. He gave us some fresh eggs again.  We are so blessed.

I salted the eggs in brine for two weeks, using 3 tbsp of salt for 1 liter of water. The yolks were just turning golden, and the egg white was not overly salty.  For a bit of fun, I steamed the eggs in small cups, rather than a simple semi-hard boil.

I saute some diced red capsicum, cherry tomatoes and diced cucumbers with some cooking oil, tomato sauce, chili sauce. I added a dash of sesame oil, and garnished the vegetables with some chopped coriander and toasted sesame seeds.

Looked mouth watering and tasted delicious.

Salted duck eggs

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Shandong shredded chicken, memory of a cranky Mr. Chen (FODMAP friendly option)

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Shandong Shredded Chicken

As the years went by, I found myself complaining more – the traffic, the bad drivers, so many conflicts around the world. Why can’t everyone just do the right thing, and the world could be a better place?

Some days, I thought I might have turned into a cranky person, like Mr. Chen.

Mr. Chen was a university friend to my father. During the culture revolution, his family was labeled as the enemy of the state. His house was searched, and wealth stripped; his father was prosecuted and thrown into jail; and Mr. Chen himself without a job or means to support himself.  Like many others ahead of him, he took the dangerous journey to the Pearl River Delta, jumped into the river, and swam across the sea to seek freedom.  He was shot at by the soldiers, but fortunately landed safely in Hong Kong.  Worked as an engineer, he married a lady 10 years younger. He was very fond of Mrs. Chen and constantly praised her achievements, such as being able to speak fluent English, and had worked as an executive assistant to a hotel general manager.

The Chens migrated to Australia in early 1980s. With their savings, they bought a small grocery store at Rose Bay and an apartment at Point Piper, both are rich suburbs of Sydney. Their apartment, although had wonderful views of the Sydney harbor, was dark, miserable, and quite a mess.

When I arrived in Australia in late 1987, my father asked the Chens to provide me with guidance and helps. Whenever Mr. Chen had the opportunity, he would talk about Chinese politic. He spoke with the deepest anger and hatred, teeth crunching and fist waving.  He yelled at me from time to time, for my lack of interest of his topics, and I did not keep my mouth firmly shut.

Within a few months, I found a job at a Chinese restaurant. The restaurant specialized in mid-north cuisine, such as Peking ducks and spicy Sichuan dishes.  The Chens had dinner in the restaurant one night, and particularly liked the Shandong shredded chicken.  They asked me to get the recipe, which was refused by the chef.  The Chens did not speak to me ever since.

I found out many years later, that Mr. Chen told my parents, who were afar, that I was very naughty – I enjoyed working as a waitress; and I went out for suppers with with co-workers after work.

The last time I heard of the Chens, they were running a small restaurant in a suburban office park.  Every morning at 3am, Mr. Chen, then 78 of age, got out of bed to collect supplies; then he joined his wife at the restaurant to work.

I can’t say that I appreciated my experience with Mr. Chen.  But I sincerely hope they are enjoying their life, and are happy.

And here is my version of a Shandong chicken, recalling the ingredients and method I learnt from the restaurant. I first placed the chicken in brine overnight, then shallow-fried the chicken with soy sauce, steamed the chicken, shredded the chicken, and served the chicken with a tangy and spicy sauce.

The most important element of this dish is the sauce. It is sweet, sour, salty and spicy – just like life, never boring.

Recipe and easy steps are as follows:

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Beef flank stew (牛腩) with Asian spices and soy sauce, my memory of the hawker stall on the ‘Poetry Book Road’ ( FODMAP friendly)

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Beef flank stew
When I was a little girl, I walked to the primary school each day.  I ate breakfast along the way. I had a ten cents allowance for two plain steamed buns each morning.

I walked down a street commonly known as the ‘Poetry Book Road’. For many years, the street was renamed as the  ‘Red Book Road’ in honor of Chairman Mao’s red book of quotations.

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Translation of the road sign:  Poetry Book Road; to the north, ‘Paper Factory Road’; to the south, ‘Heavenly Successful Road’.  September 2017, GuangZhou, China

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A street vendor selling beef flank stew and pig intestines near Poetry Street, September 2017, GuangZhou, China

At the end of the street, there was a tiny hawker stall selling beef flank and pig intestines. In winters, the hot steam rose from her big pots. The aroma of soy, star anise and clove lingered in the air, mouth-watering and irresistible. The stall operator was a middle age woman, short, chubby and never smiled. She had a pair of gigantic scissors that made loud ‘chop chop chop’ sound. When she received an order, she cut some small pieces off a larger piece, skillfully threading them to a bamboo stick without touching them with her hands.  A stick with 3 pieces of juicy, fatty and heart-warming meat cost 10 cents. It was a difficult decision for a little girl – spending the 10 cents on a meat stick and be hungry for the rest of the morning, or two plain buns. I took some deep breaths (the aroma was so good) and nibbled on the tasteless buns.

Now I remembered, the two buns never filled me up anyway. At school I sat next to a boy whose name was ‘Bin’. We enjoyed a few laughs as our stomachs rumbled at the exact same moment.

I cooked beef flank many times over the past many years. It always brought back memories of the hawker stall on the Poetry Book Road.

Recipe is as follows: Read the rest of this entry »